JAD Hearing Services, owned by and operated under the auspices of the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) as a charity, has registered with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) for accelerated growth support and funding as it plans to expand its offerings.
Deniese Badroe, director of the business development division of the JAD, told the Jamaica Observer, “JAD Hearing Services (JADHS) was established in 1963 out of the need to identify children with hearing loss for special school placement. Over the years, these services have become a vital part of the national health-care system, with most public hospitals referring patients to access the services provided by the JADHs. “
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversations.
In a 2022 update, the health agency outlined, “Millions of people across the world live with disabling hearing loss. The vast majority live in low- and middle-income countries where they often do not have access to appropriate ear and hearing care services. There are also hundreds of millions of people at risk of hearing damage due to noise-induced hearing loss from both recreational and industrial noise.
“Without suitable interventions, hearing loss poses a significant challenge in the lives of those affected. Many causes of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures. Through rehabilitation, education and empowerment, people with hearing loss can reach their full potential.”
With increased awareness about the importance of monitoring hearing health among children and workers in industries with high noise levels, there is a growing demand for hearing health assessment services.
Today, operating from 91 Dumbarton Road in Kingston, the JADHS, with a staff of 10, provides hearing assessments, ear plugs, hearing aids and accessories to a clientele located right across Jamaica.
Deniese Badroe told Sunday Finance, “Our competitive advantage is low cost – many of our clients are referred to by us from the public health system so we are mindful of their socio-economic circumstances.”
The most popular service is hearing assessments applied for by industrial companies, and hearing screening for children. Next in the level of demand are hearing aids for adults, retirees and children. There is also a demand coming from industrial companies for ear plugs.
The company states on its website, “The Hearing Services division of the JAD offers hearing assessment and amplification services. A wide range of screening and diagnostic hearing tests are offered to persons of all ages. We also provide hearing amplification and accessories, and service/repair hearing aids.
Hearing services are provided by a team of certified hearing professionals, headed by a registered audiologist. Our team will provide you with a comprehensive hearing assessment and advice on the technology which is best suited to meet your personal needs and lifestyle.”
Churchill Johnson, in giving a client testimonial on the JAD website, stated, “In terms of customer service, they pay attention and take the time to repeat the questions as they appreciate the fact that persons may not be hearing very well. I am always greeted with a nice smile. I enjoy sitting there with the folks, they have always been very pleasant. The technician spends time in trying to get the hearing aid programmed right and will go overboard to get it done. Overall, I would rate my experience here as nine out of 10.”
Hearing Aid Accessories include hearing aid batteries — standardised across all hearing aid brands, huggies are used to help to keep the hearing aid on young children, cleaning kits, replacement wax baskets; earmolds including custom earmolds for hearing aids, music monitors, and personal earphones.
Aids also include swim plugs and hearing protection equipment. The JAD also manufactures custom noise reduction ear plugs, which “are designed to attenuate harmful levels of noise,” as indicated on its website. Plugs can be had in a variety of colours.
Badroe told Sunday Finance that the venture’s biggest challenge is that of finding qualified personnel in the field. “In the past we have had to train people to be audiologists. We are now at the stage where we need to retrain personnel,” she said.
The business development head stated, “The purpose of joining the JBDC accelerator programme is to ultimately improve the viability of the business. We need the support from the programme to help streamline our operational efficiencies and increase productivity and output.”